A Sestina by Jack Carson
Note: a sestina is a strict poetic form composed of six stanzas of six lines each. Notice how six words are repeated to end each of the six lines in the stanza. Jack’s words are: sandwich, tail, enjoy, picnic, armadillo, and book. (It’s a little distorted because this blog has an automatic text wrap feature that breaks up the lines).The final stanza is always three lines. I love this sestina. If Maurice Sendak is still out there somewhere, I think he should illustrate it.
The Epic of the Cat, the Hare, the Gecko and the Armadillo (Copyright 2006 jack Carson)
Once there was a Cat, a hare, a Gecko, and an Armadillo.
One day, they gathered for a picnic.
They had lots of sandwiches.
There was roast beef and ham and peanut butter and they all enjoyed
them. Then they read to each other from a book.
All was going well until Cat stepped on Gecko’s tail.
Since he was a gecko, Gecko’s tail
Broke off and this caused Armadillo
to panic and curl himself up into a ball. He didn’t realize he was on the book.
Gecko said to Cat, “You’re spoiling our picnic.”
Hare said to Armadillo, “Get off the book so we may all enjoy
it.” Cat decided he wanted another sandwich.
And that’s when they all realized (except for Armadillo); There were no more sandwiches.
Gecko went to retrieve his missing tail
While Cat and Hare, lamented that there were no more sandwiches for them to enjoy.
Still curled up in a ball, was unaware that the picnic
was almost over. And Hare still wanted the book.
He pulled on the book,
And heard Armadillo ask for another sandwich.
Hare told him he couldn’t have another sandwich because the picnic
was over. Trying to uncurl him, Cat pulled on Armadillo’s tail
Causing a yell to come from Armadillo.
Uncurling himself, Armadillo said, “I did not find that enjoyable.”
And Hare said, “No one can enjoy
anything when people are sitting on books
and scaring armadillos
and eating all the sandwiches
and getting their tails
stepped on. And now it’s over for our picnic!”
“This can’t really be the end of the picnic!”
said Cat tearfully. “I was just getting to enjoy
myself.” And then Gecko returned with his tail.
It was still thrashing, as geckos’ tails do when they are cut. He picked up the book
And said, “I know where there are more sandwiches.”
Let’s go!” said the others. (except for Armadillo)
He was still thinking of the lost picnic and the book
That they’d hardly had the chance to enjoy. He was still hoping he could have a sandwich,
Not realizing his friends had turned their tails toward him to look for more. Alone was Armadillo.